Witches of Lychford

Paul Cornell. Tor.com, $12.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-4668-9189-0
Cornell—author of comics, Doctor Who books, postapocalyptic narratives, and supernatural police procedurals—reworks familiar concepts of fairies and ancient mythologies in this intriguing novella. Lychford, an English hamlet suffering under the government’s austerity policies, is divided over whether to welcome a new superstore, Sovo, in place of its faltering local businesses. Curmudgeonly 71-year-old Judith Mawson knows that Lychford is the crossroads where many magical worlds connect, and if the street pattern is disrupted, chaos will inevitably reign. She bands together with Autumn, an atheist who owns a New Age shop, and Lizzie, the town’s widowed vicar, to stop Sovo from permanently changing Lychford and letting dangerous spirits cross the boundaries keeping our world safe. With clarity and wit, Cornell cleverly juxtaposes the setting of a sleepy English town against the notion of an enchanted land. His characters are well-defined, and their foibles and idiosyncrasies make for an engaging read. Refreshing and suspenseful, this novella is an inventive look at the idea of magic lurking just beyond one’s reach. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/17/2015
Genre: Fiction
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